The Two Wives

John and Melissa Bennett Beck

I picked up this carte de visite, also known as a cdv, at the Markle Antique Mall in Markle, Indiana.  The words John Beck & wife were penned above the sitters’ heads. Based on the wife’s fashion and hairstyle, I loosely date the cdv to the 1870s.

John Beck had two wives…no, not at the same time.  But, two wives meant that I needed to gather as many pieces of the puzzle as possible in order to know which of John’s wives sat for this photograph.

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The gang’s almost all here

John William Stuck
John William Stuck

I discovered these photos in a shop in Warsaw, Indiana.  Although the gentleman sitter has his name, John William Stuck, written on the back of the cabinet card, he would be impossible to identify if it hadn’t been for the second photo found in the pile.  That photo, a cabinet card featuring three children, identified on the back as Mabel Stuck, Susie Tyrone Stuck, and Clesson Daniel Stuck, provided a location of Elkhart, Indiana.

Mabel, Susie and Clesson Stuck
Mabel, Susie Tyrone and Clesson Daniel Stuck

John William Stuck was born in 1856 in Pennsylvania and came with his family, as a young boy, to Elkhart, Indiana where he wed Mary Prudence Newman.  The couple made their home in Elkhart, where they raised their seven children, the eldest three being Mabel, Clesson and Susie.  Based on how old the children appear to be in the photo, along with the fact that John and Mary welcomed a son, Bernard, in 1894, I date the children’s photo to 1892 or 1893.

In order to date John’s photo, I consulted the 19th Century Card Photos KwikGuide by Gary W. Clark.  His hair and clothing appear to fit with styles seen from 1879 to 1885.  The turned up collar, which was popular in the 1850s and 60s, was making a comeback in the 1880s. He isn’t wearing a wedding ring, which may be a clue that the photo was taken prior to his marriage in 1881.  Of course, it’s also possible that he didn’t wear a ring.

Elkhart Carriage and Harness Manufacturing

During his life, John worked as a carriage maker, and later was employed as a wood pattern maker by the Elkhart (Elcar) Motor Company.  I suspect that he began working for the motor company when it was known as Elkhart Carriage and Harness Manufacturing.

I should be satisfied to have rescued these images, but I can’t help but wish that I found a photo of Mary and the other children.  It would be nice to complete the family and keep them together.

Sources
Census records
Coachbuilt – History of Elkhart Carriage and Elkhart Auto

Elkhart Carriage advertisement

She carried an umbrella

I picked up this cabinet card from The Wurdeman Studio.  If you enjoy beautiful antique photographs and other bits and bobbles, you can check them out on Instagram or visit their Etsy shop.  Be sure to read the how and why of the shop.  Here’s a little teaser… “It all started in Mrs. Wurdeman’s Store when I was five.”

Emma Sager’s life was just getting started when it ended in 1894; at age twenty-five she died of consumption.

1894 Feb 1 SAGER Emma OBIT Darlington Record Darlington Missouri Pg 1
February 1, 1894, Darlington Review
INTRO small version1894 Jul 14 TB ARTICLE The Sacred Heart Review newspaper Boston
Sacred Heart Review, 1894

Tuberculosis, also known throughout history as consumption, scrofula, TB, and the white plaque, was highly contagious and killed many, being especially dangerous to those living in large cities and those who lived in poverty. (I realize that not everyone is interested in reading about disease, but if you would like to learn more about the history of tuberculosis, you will find a link in the sources at the end of this post.)

I also came across the newspaper article on the right, published in 1894, that may be of interest to some.

Emma and her eight siblings grew up on a farm in Gentry county, Missouri with her father, Edward, who immigrated to the US from Germany when he was a young boy, and her mother, Susanna (nee Gearheart). When she was twenty, Emma’s mother died and I imagine much of the responsibilities for the household chores, as well as the care of the younger siblings, may have fallen upon Emma and her older sister, Mary, who was also single.  However, four years later, in August of 1892, Emma was one of the teachers in attendance at the teacher’s institute in Stanberry, Missouri.  If her obituary is correct, this is about the time she fell ill.  Whenever someone dies young, I ponder about their life and Emma is no different: Did she finish school? Fall in love? What hopes and dreams were extinguished too soon?

Sources:

Census records
Find A Grave
Sacred Heart Review newspaper, Boston, July 14, 1894
University of Virginia Historical Exhibits- Early Research and Treatment of Tuberculosis in the 19th Century
Ephemeral New York – Tuberculosis Windows
Edward Sager’s obituary from the Boynton Index, Boynton, Oklahoma – June 27, 1919
Darlington Review newspaper, Darlington, Missouri

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A feather in her cap

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This cabinet card was found in Niles, Michigan. The girl in the feathered hat and fur coat is Minnie Sheets.  Her father, Jacob, who immigrated to the US from Germany in 1853, owned and operated a dry goods and general merchandise shop in Ligonier, Indiana, where he sold clothing, carpets, groceries, boots and shoes, and even offered custom tailoring.

Minnie’s grandfather was a shoe dealer.  I suspect that as a result of her family’s businesses, Minnie had access to all the finest clothing and accessories that a girl could want.  What she lacked was a mother.  In 1875, when Minnie was two years old, her mother Lena died, leaving her to be raised by her father and her maternal grandparents, Minnie and Peter Sisterhern.

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A girl and her doll

blog-wannemacher-with-doll

Some years ago during a visit to an antique shop in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, I came across this cabinet card photo of a little girl and her doll, and I couldn’t leave it behind.  At the time, I wasn’t even collecting old photos.  I also purchased a photo of the girl when she was older. Written on the back is the name Marie Nunnemacher.

blog-wannemacher-marie

Although I have a name, I can’t positively identify the sitter. I thought that the name written on the back would be her maiden name, since they are childhood photos.  However, I haven’t been able to find a Marie Nunnemacher that would fit.  I even searched the last names Winnemacher and Wannemacher, in case I was misreading the handwriting.

It’s possible that she was Mary “Marie” Wandel, born in 1888 in Milwaukee, who married Max Nunnemacher.  However, this is just a guess. I hope that someday Marie’s family members will stumble upon this blog post and recognize her.

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The Dressmaker

blog-21-pinney-laura-mabel

Abt. 1895

Here is another cabinet card from the Pinney album, which I found in an antique shop in Fremont, Indiana.  This image was not identified, but upon researching the family some years ago, I was pretty certain I knew the name of the sitter, based on the fact that she was the only female cousin found living in East Jordan, Michigan who fit the time period.  Recently, I discovered photos shared on a public ancestry tree and now I can be certain that I’ve matched this photo with the correct person.

Laura Mabel Pinney’s family moved from Arcade, New York and were one of the early settlers of Jordan township in Antrim County, Michigan.  In 1873, when she was about one year old, and her brothers, Herman and Howard were six and four, her father, Curtis, purchased a 160 acre parcel of wood land that he cleared and where he built a 16 x 24 ft. log cabin.  Her Grandmother Pinney, a widow, lived with the family.  Her mother, Marion (nee Beebe), knit long woolen socks and mittens, sewed rag rugs and clothing for the family. And when a school house was built, her mother acted as teacher for the first year.

When Laura was fifteen, her parents built a nicer frame house on the homestead that was completely finished and even had running water, courtesy of a nearby spring piping water into a 20 gallon tank in the pantry.  What a joy that must have been!

Laura worked as a live-in housekeeper during her early adult years, later becoming a dressmaker.  I wonder if she designed and made the dress she is wearing in this photo?

Laura and her brother, Howard Curtis Pinney, came down with pneumonia in 1911 and both succumbed to the illness within a couple weeks of each other.  She was just 38 years old.

Sources
Census records
A Brief Account of the Pioneer Settlement of a part of Antrim County, by Allison Pinney
Michigan death records

We hear thee and forget our care

blog-taylor-ida

I acquired this beautiful photograph on etsy, although, I prefer to find photos in shops or at estate sales.  However, I was so taken by this image that after watching it languish for over a month, I finally rescued it on my birthday last year.  It is a Boudoir card, which is larger than a standard cabinet card, measuring 5 1/4″ x 8 1/2″.

The sitter is Ida Taylor, who lived to be 101 years old!  She lived in the Boonville, Indiana home that her father built the year she was born, until her death in 1957.

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